Frequently Asked Questions

CODE COMPLIANCE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS)

Code Compliance is responsible for the preservation of neighborhood livability. This is done through education and enforcement of the County Codes.

The Code Compliance Department is primarily oriented toward ensuring compliance with State codes, rules, and similar regulations through negotiating voluntary compliance.  Code Compliance staff may be contacted at wcplanning@co.wasco.or.us

What does Code Enforcement do?

Code compliance investigates and, if needed, enforces the Wasco County Codes.  We will notify a property owner of the violation occurring on their property and work with them to bring the property into compliance.  At times compliance is not reached and this may lead to enforcement.  The enforcement can include a civil citation penalty and possibly the County abating the property at the owner’s expense.  This can result in a lien on the property, which must be satisfied before it can be sold.

How Long Does it Take to resolve a complaint?

It can take a while- if you check on the code compliance procedure link it will give you a more detailed, in-depth review of the process but a common misconception is a violation can be fixed overnight.

Code Compliance works to get voluntary compliance first before any other governmental action occurs. Our goal is to work with people to resolve violations whenever possible and the Code Officer works under internal policies, to ensure a uniform timely schedule of compliance is reached.

Keep in mind that the property owner of the reported property can be long-distance and hard to reach, or have health issues or other obstacles that prevent timely compliance.  Very few people want to have the “worst” property in the neighborhood and it is very likely there is something going on that is causing the property to be neglected. 

How long it takes to resolve a violation depends on the violation and the property owner but the Code Compliance Officer is happy to keep you in the loop if you ask for updates.  A lot goes on behind the scenes to achieve voluntary compliance even if you do not see anything happening right away.

What is a Code Violation?

A Code Violation is a condition or situation that is in violation of the Wasco County Codes.  This includes nuisance violations and land use violations. Please check out our helpful links to read our nuisance codes.

What are the most common types of violations?

The majority of violations Wasco County Code Compliance handles are land-use violations, which include occupied RVs on private property, unpermitted dwellings or additions, as well as nuisance violations including stored junk, cars, and trash. The extreme storage of these items can indicate hoarding. 

Can I remain anonymous if I report a violation?

Code compliance does not accept anonymous complaints or complaints given verbally or in an email or through a third party such as another government agency or employee.  We do not release your name or information to the other party but it is part of the legal record and required by County Policy for Code Compliance to open an investigation. Requiring ownership of complaints prevents retaliatory or harassing complaints.

What happens after I submit a complaint?

Please review the Code Compliance Procedure link for a more in-depth review of what happens after you file a complaint.  Briefly- the complaint is verified with a field visit, records are researched and the legal owner is contacted.  Once contact is achieved, we work with property owners who may be long-distance, or have obstacles that make a quick fix of the problem impossible and we must work within their abilities to resolve the violation.  If the property owner won’t contact us or won’t correct the violation we can cite them and abate the property placing a lien on the property to cover the county’s expenses.  These options are a last resort and can stretch out how long a violation goes unresolved.

Please be patient and realistic in your expectations about how long it can take to process your complaint to resolution. If it didn’t happen overnight it won’t be fixed overnight.

I want to know if I can use my RV on my own land.  Can you provide me with more information on this?

Living in or occupying an RV on your own land or rented land is one of the top five complaints we received and under our Helpful Links button, you will find a FAQS sheet that answers all of your RV living questions. If you do not find the answer to your specific question, please feel free to reach out to our Planning Department at 541-506-2560.

My neighbor is letting people stay in RVs on their land occasionally.  Is this a violation?

Please see our helpful links button and read our FAQS sheet on RVS for information that is more detailed but it is not a violation to occasionally use an RV on your own land.  However, time constraints are in place so that occasional weekend, holiday or summer break usage does count towards the maximum of 60 days of usage allowed per year if there is a legal dwelling on the property.